Hill relishing his first derby

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KEITH Hill is hungry for his ambitious Barnsley side to earn themselves local bragging rights against Doncaster Rovers in tomorrow’s South Yorkshire derby.

The Reds and Rovers clash at Oakwell and Hill is understandably keen to reign victorious in his first derby match since taking charge at Barnsley.

“There are local bragging rights for the fans; it would be great if we can get a victory for them,” Hill told The Star.

“From my perspective, it’s all about our performance and getting the points, but I’m sure, with it being a derby game, it will be a great atmosphere.

“I’m really looking forward to it and so are the players. I’m looking forward to pitting my wits against Dean Saunders and what is a good Doncaster side.”

Rovers fans are expected to number 2,000.

Last season the Reds twice fought back from behind to earn a 2-2 home draw and, in the last six meetings between the two sides - home and away - have won four of those fixtures and lost just once.

“We can’t get too emotional because it’s a derby fixture, but we’ve been working hard to ensure we get the right result,” Hill said. “Dean Saunders was an unbelievable player and he’s working hard to become a very good manager. He had three great years to create something special at Wrexham, which was an excellent amount of time to achieve things.

“And now he’s got the chance to be successful with Doncaster and you can see the ambition at the club. Dean and [club owner] John Ryan have big aspirations to get out of this division.”

Rovers made the high-profile signing of Senegal international El Hadji Diouf this season on a three-month deal - and the former Liverpool, Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers hitman wasted no time in showing off his pedigree with a brace at Ipswich Town as Rovers ended a five-match winless run.

And with sought-after striker Billy Sharp, tricky winger James Coppinger and former Tottenham and Blackburn defender Pascal Chimbonda among Rovers’ ranks, Hill knows his team will have to be firing on full cylinders as they look to maintain their impressive home form of just one loss in six matches.

“They’ve [Doncaster] got some great players. I’m not sure whose making the signings there, but El Hadji Diouf is a world-class player and they’ve got lots of threats all over the pitch,” Hill said.

“But we’re fully focused and ready to get back to business after the international break.”

Manchester United loan midfielder Danny Drinkwater and Andy Gray are absentees for the Reds, both suspended.